MADISON – During Tuesday’s Assembly floor session, Republicans voted down a bipartisan proposal to address the issue of testing sexual assault kits. The amendment brought forward by Assembly Democrats mirrored Assembly Bill 214 which would prevent any future backlog of sexual assault kits by standardizing the processing and storage of kits.
This legislation was the product of months of stakeholder engagement and input from law enforcement and experts at the Department of Justice. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and has 56 co-sponsors in the Assembly. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement on today’s actions:
“How cynical do you have to be to politicize legislation about testing rape kits? During my time in office, I have never seen such a transparent attempt to insert ‘poison pill’ language into bipartisan legislation. Playing these political games does a disservice to victims and the law enforcement professionals who work on their cases. Attorney General Kaul and experts at the Department of Justice worked hard to assemble a strong coalition in an effort to gather consensus and get this done by the end of session. Unfortunately, these efforts were wasted due to the partisan actions of Republican leadership.
“Republicans rejected a bill that was the product of months of work and input from subject matter experts including sexual assault nurse examiners, victim advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Because of this choice by Republicans, they are assuring that nothing will address the issue of sexual assault kit testing this legislative session. The people of Wisconsin deserve better than the hyper-partisan Republican leadership in the State Assembly.”